This summer, as people are thinking about venturing out on socially-distanced vacations, many people are also considering bringing their dogs along for the ride. Here are some things to keep in mind when bringing Fido on the road with you.
1. Keep them safe and comfortable in the car.
If you can, avoid having your dog in the front passenger seat, and if you must, consider investing in a pet seat belt. If you were to get in an accident––or even just have to put on the brakes suddenly––you wouldn’t want your dog to get injured. If you’re concerned about messes in the car, you can use blankets to cover the seats or purchase special seat covers made for dogs. A familiar blanket or small bed will help them keep calm and hopefully get some shut eye during long stretches of driving.
2. Know where your pit stops are.
Much like having kids, make sure you know where your bathroom stops are. When traveling with your pup you can avoid accidents by walking them before a long drive. Plan pit stops every 3-4 hours for potty breaks and a quick walk to help them get out some energy.
3. Bring the proper supplies.
You don’t necessarily need to pack an entire suitcase dedicated for your pup, but you want to ensure you have their daily necessities. Food and water of course, a portable water bottle or bowl, poop bags, their leash and collar. Vet contact info and vet records are a good idea too, especially if you’re planning any sort of extended trip. A swim vest is a good idea if you’ll be taking your dog out on the water (even if they don’t like to swim). And of course bedding so they can get a good night’s sleep after a long day of adventuring on the road.
4. Be aware of summertime hazards for your pup.
You might not realize it, but there are a number of hazards to watch out for while traveling with your dog. It’s easy not to think of these when you’re back home when the vet is just a quick visit away, but when you’re far from home it might not be as easy to find care for them. Being in new environments with your dog can bring unexpected hazards, too. Never leave your dog in the car. Pets can overheat quickly in an enclosed vehicle. Although it might be tempting to leave them while you run inside, don’t risk it––especially in the hot Texas summer months. Leave them with another member of your travel crew and take turns going inside. If you’re traveling solo, tie them up safely somewhere outside––or find places to stop that are dog-friendly. Beware of taking your dog for walks on hot asphalt, too. If your wrist can’t handle a surface, your dog’s paws can’t either. Walk them in the shade or during cooler parts of the day, or buy them foot covers to protect their precious paws.
If you’re taking them to the beach, beware of too much salt water intake in the water. Consuming large amounts of salt water can be fatal for your dog. Monitor them while they’re in the water and make sure you have plenty of fresh water on hand for them to drink.
If you’re taking them for a hike, keep an eye (and an ear) out for rattlesnakes on the trails. Ask your vet about the rattlesnake vaccine before you go, and if your dog is bitten by a venomous snake, take immediate action.